Last updated: February 20. 2013 12:13AM - 505 Views

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Looking back at this holiday season, Monsignor Joseph Kelly, executive director of Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton, expressed gratitude that Constance Hartman‚??s Pennies from Heaven drive was able to help more than 60 homeless area veterans with some basic needs, sharing the Christmas spirit with them.

Kelly noted, however, that the needs of these and other homeless residents exist throughout the whole year. The need to sleep, eat and shower is a daily one.

It takes the consistent long-term commitment of others to ensure the homeless can maintain a reasonable quality of life and keep their dignity, he said.

Kelly said he is confident the generosity of area residents will provide both life‚??s necessities and hope to the homeless throughout the coming year.

None of the agencies profiled earlier this month has yet tallied donations received, but they all said they were grateful for the help while reminding that the financial needs continue throughout the year.

Gloria Blandina, director of Care and Concern Ministries in Pittston, said the ministry‚??s food and clothing bank was able to assist more than 500 families during the group‚??s Christmas food give-away, also providing coats, mittens and hats to those families.

When asked about continuing need, Blandina‚??s ongoing wish list includes physicians specializing in a variety of areas. She said the group‚??s clinic wants to provide comprehensive services to the needy. The ministry also has a continuing financial need.

Michael Zimmerman, executive director of the Family Service Association, also applauds the generosity of area residents in giving to Helpline, but he said there is a markedly increased need.

‚??For example,‚?Ě Zimmerman said, ‚??with increased economic challenges, some callers were not able to buy presents for family members.‚?Ě He said they also called for encouragement and hope.

Zimmerman said Helpline does encourage such callers to engage in formal counseling. However, the need for funding of increased staff will remain throughout the year.

‚??Our year-round need is for funds for more staff so we can fully benefit Helpline callers,‚?Ě he said.

Shannon Doyne, Volunteers of America‚??s Magnolia Project, smiled as she reflected on the area generosity in providing hope and assistance to area girls in grades nine through 12.

‚??Shortly after our wish list was presented in the Giving Guide, I received an envelope containing $85 to be directed toward our upcoming trip to New York City,‚?Ě said Doyne. ‚??Those type of donations reflect true generosity of the giver.‚?Ě

Doyne said she is hopeful additional donations will come in to make that trip a reality for 50 girls, who might not get such an opportunity otherwise.

Gloria Suscavage, owner of Mergo‚??s Bar, said her customers made a sizable contribution to Make-A-Wish Foundation throughout the holiday season.

‚??It takes about $3,500 to fulfill one wish, and we anticipate doing that again this year,‚?Ě said Suscavage, who has made a sizable contribution to the foundation since 2005.

Her effort to assist Make-a-Wish Foundation came as a result as her patrons‚?? desire to tip her. Suscavage, as owner, refused tips, but instead came up with the idea of putting that money toward a good cause.

To donate

‚?Ę Catholic Social Services: Call Monsignor Joseph Kelly at 822-7118.

‚?Ę Care & Concern Ministry: Forward to St. John the Evangelist Church, c/o Care & Concern Ministry, 35 William St., Pittston, PA 18640.

‚?Ę Magnolia Project: Volunteers of America, 25 N. River St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702. Checks should be made payable to The Magnolia Project.

‚?Ę Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley‚??s Help Line: Send to 31 W. Market St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702. Contributions are also accepted at the agency‚??s website:www.helpline-nepa.

‚?Ę Mergo‚??s Bar Make-A-Wish: Send to 113 W. Main St., Plymouth, or call Gloria Suscavage at 570-779-3776. Donations can also be sent to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania & Southern West Virginia, Scranton Regional Office, 1327 Pittston Ave., Scranton, PA 18505; or call: (570) 341-9474.

None of the agencies profiled earlier this month has yet tallied donations received, but they all said they were grateful for the help.

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